Hi, my name is Isko Salminen.
I'm an adventure seeker and I love exploring nature with my camera and Australian Shepherd called Fire

Day 24: Wrightwood

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Date: May 23, 2017
Miles: 12 miles (19.3km), from mile 357.3 to the Highway 2.
Health: The climb was rough. Both my heels hurt and my feet are swollen. Couple new blisters.

The alarm goes off way too soon, my hurting body needs more sleep. It's still dark and cold outside and every part of my body hurts. I don't want to get out of the warmth of my sleeping bag. But I also know that we still have miles to climb and in few hours it's going to be excruciatingly hot.

Getting ready to leave.  

Getting ready to leave.  

I begrudgingly get out of my bag and start packing my pack. I see no movement in any of the tents yet, but Sunshine is fighting the same battle as I, just a little ways down the dirt road.

The view is just absolutely breathtaking. We didn't see anything when we arrived here at night but now we're rewarded with gorgeous mountains basking in the morning light. I stuff my shorts pockets full of bars, shoulder my pack and follow Sunshine back on the trail.

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The climb starts immediately and my legs haven't fully woken up yet. It feels like I'm climbing at snails pace. What feels like the longest hour and a half, gets us on the top of the mountain. We can see the desert floor far down below us. We stop to breath and enjoy the view for a second. I'm happy that we climbed that far last night, but at the same time I feel bad for all my fellow hikers still behind us, having to do all that climbing in this heat.

7,085 feet (2,160m) elevation climb.  

7,085 feet (2,160m) elevation climb.  

We still have one short very steep uphill and then we get to a campground at the top of the mountain. Man that was a long climb. We stop for water and an early lunch.

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We learn that the water is down a steep hill, on the side of the mountain. We don't feel like doing any more climbing and so we even out all our water and calculate that we can probably do the last five miles with the little water we have. It's mainly downhill.

Before filtering / after filtering.  

Before filtering / after filtering.  

As we climb down we hike past ski-lifts. It's already way too hot to hike but we need to get to the highway to catch a hitch to Wrightwood. I can see the highway in the distance but the trail just keeps twisting and going away from the road. At one point the trail crosses a dirt road and I notice that the dirt road is a quicker path to the highway. As my feet hurt, I hike the last mile along the dirt road.

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Once I reach the highway there are about 15 hikers there already. I haven't seen any cars go along the highway all day. Just as I'm thinking this is going to take forever, a pickup truck drives by and stops. Topo is already onboard and enthusiastically waves at us from the bed of the truck. The driver waves us to jump aboard. As Sunshine and I are the last to arrive, we don't fit. But that was fast.

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We sit down and prepare for a long wait and right then another car drives past, stops, and waves for us to get in. Wow. That was super fast. In less than 10 minutes we all get rides to town.

The ride to Wrightwood takes us down from the mountains and along the way we see the ski resort. The town is small and compact. Everything is a walking distance away. I like it.

Our first priority when we reach the town: get ice cream. The driver leaves us right outside of the best ice cream shop in town and we buy large scoops of our favorite flavors.

Ice cream! 

Ice cream! 

Next is time to go to the post office, I have a package from ZPacks waiting for me. On the way to the post office we pass many hiker friends. It's like everywhere you look, there's someone you know. I love coming into towns and seeing all the friends at the same place and hearing all their trail stories.

Resupply packages at the post office.  

Resupply packages at the post office.  

At the post office all the people inside strike up a conversation and we talk about the PCT for awhile. People in these small towns are so friendly. They all wish us good luck and we continue to the sandwich shop next door.

We leave our packs there and go to the Mountain Hardware shop to register and get our PCT pins.

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The lodging in Wrightwood is a bit bad. There are only expensive options. There's a list of all the trail angels and people have already called them all through. We hear of a place where you can stay for the night for a donation. After hearing the description of the place, we nickname it The Bunker. It's a cheap option for most, but I want to take a proper shower and sleep in a comfy bed. Blis feels the same and we reserve the last two bed room in the Pines Motel.

My swollen and blistery feet.  

My swollen and blistery feet.  

We get to the motel and get our room. It's way too expensive for what it is, but I'm too tired and hurting to care. I immediately hit the shower and start washing the layers of dirt off of me. It seems that no matter how long I scrub, the dirt just keeps coming. My feet look pretty dinged up.

Chilling outside our motel.  

Chilling outside our motel.  

We take our dirty clothes to the laundry and hop on our huge beds to watch TV. It feels so good to just lay down and not do anything.

Mexican.  

Mexican.  

Later in the evening we all gather in the Mexican restaurant next door for 5 cent margarita. The food is good and the margaritas cold. The evening goes by too quick. It's time to go to sleep. It has been really rough few days and I'm happy to not having to wake up early tomorrow.